Being a teenager in Normal, IL was just about as ‘normal’ as one would imagine. Between movies, Friday Night Lights, and hanging out with friends on the weekends, Sarah was living a typical Midwest existence. It was only when she started noticing the girl—with a smile far too big for early mornings in school hallways—that her normal life started to get more exciting.
Despite the fact that she and Elizabeth were not the same age and had no friends in common, Sarah kept catching her eye across the crowded lunchroom. After a few weeks, she decided to end their silent chase—it was time to make her move. Perhaps emboldened by her friends, or feeling confident in her letterman’s jacket, the next time she caught Elizabeth staring, she got up, walked right over and said, “Hi, so…instead of cafeteria food, how about we go out for a meal sometime?”
Elizabeth froze as did all of her friends. Despite looking like she was going to pass out, Elizabeth managed to squeak out, “Yeah, yes. That would be nice.” Sarah, all swagger at this point, smiled back at her. She walked back to her table nodding to her friends—somehow knowing that this had been the best invitation she had ever extended.
The First Date
When the two finally did go out, it was at the local pub and all of Sara’s former bravado had dissipated. Both she and Elizabeth were too nervous to eat or talk. Strangely, instead of feeling awkward, their silence felt comfortable, familiar. When Sarah ended up spilling her drink, they laughed, and the conversation took off.
Toward the end of the night, as they walked around the quaint downtown area, Sarah realized what that comfortable familiarity was. With Elizabeth, she had found home.
Three months into their budding relationship, Sarah knew that Elizabeth was going to be the one she wanted to be with for the rest of her life. Though she was just 16 years old, she understood that what they felt for each other was real and true. “El had been there for me through everything. If I ever faltered or longed for something constant and unfailing—she was there.”
Though she knew they were meant for each other, Sarah would be leaving for college soon. She was terrified of losing the person she had come to love the most. She also understood that they both had a lot of growing up to do before she could ask Elizabeth to be her wife. The following year, when Sarah did leave to attend Carthage College in Wisconsin, their relationship faced the difficult test of being apart.
After enduring two years of distance, Elizabeth decided to join Sarah at the same school. Sarah was ecstatic and realized that there was no reason to wait any longer. She decided it was time to propose.
Sarah learned as much as possible about engagement rings, diamonds, and wedding brands over the next few weeks. There were the obvious brands she had heard of before like Tiffany, Kay, and Tacori, but she wanted something very special for El. She decided to research beyond the companies she was familiar with. She even wandered around a jewelry store to see exactly what her options were. She learned about diamond colors, quality, and shapes. There was only one problem. None of the rings she saw really said ‘El’ which was somewhat discouraging.
Not disheartened for long, she decided to start over. One night she googled ‘custom design engagement rings’ and Ritani popped up. Sarah was intrigued. After spending some time on the site researching products, reading reviews and checking out customer stories, she knew she was on the right track.
What really sealed the deal for her though, was the Ritani chat feature. Normally, she avoided chat features because they often led to high pressure sales or automated answers. At Ritani, she was surprised to find a real person on the other end—Jess, a customer service rep who helped her through the entire process, answering her questions and addressing concerns that came up.
With Jess’ help, Sarah built a custom ring for Elizabeth. She was able to take the things she loved from three different styles and fit them all into one perfect design—a French-set Diamond band in 18kt white gold complete with a gorgeous round center stone.
For Sarah and Elizabeth, Christmas was always a special time of year—they loved the lights, snow, holiday decorations and general good cheer. This year was particularly special—it would be their fourth Christmas together.
Sarah planned a romantic getaway. Chicago had always held special meaning for Sarah —she’d been there as a child during Christmas and remembered it as a magical city. Elizabeth hadn’t had the same opportunities to travel, so Sarah decided it would be a trip to remember.
Part of the joy of taking Elizabeth to Chicago was watching her reactions to the lights and excitement. One night, they walked to a spot in the People’s Gaslight exhibit. It was a magical place, with a view overlooking the little lake and city—a perfect setting for a proposal. As they walked in the brisk night air, they talked about their relationship over the past few years—and where Sarah hoped to see it go.
When they reached the breathtaking spot, Sarah gave El her phone to take some photos of the city landscape. While she was distracted, Sarah dropped down on one knee and waited for Elizabeth to turn around.
After turning around (and nearly dropping the phone) El began to cry as Sarah asked her to be her wife. After a few tears and anxious seconds, she said “YES!’
When asked what advice she would give to someone considering proposing, Sarah says this:
“Follow your heart and take the leap when it feels right. If I had listened to everyone in my life telling me when the right time would be to get engaged, I might still be happily in a relationship, but I wouldn’t have this incredible feeling of being so truly part of a team. It’s not the two of us anymore, we’re one unit and there’s no other feeling quite like that.”
Are you ready to plan your Christmas proposal? There’s still time to custom design your ring.